Gangtok, Nov 15 (UNI) In an ambitious bid to promote an all year tourism inflow, Sikkim Tourism Cooperative Society (STCS), an NGO, will be hitting the road from December 27 on a 101-day nation- wide promotional campaign.
'' Earlier, the campaign was scheduled to start from November 27 but owing to festival, elections and other pre-occupations, we were compelled to postpone the flag off date by a month,'' said Kishore Kharka, president, STCS.
Chief Minister Pawan Chamling will be flagging off the campaign that would see the twelve-member team travel around 22,000 kms covering 26 states and 5 UTs while promoting Sikkim as an upcoming tourist destination. The expedition will culminate in Sikkim on April 5.
To reach out to the general population of the country, the expedition team will be organising road shows across 44 cities with a view to creating mass awareness about Sikkim as a tourist destination. The expedition team will also provide complete information on various destinations of the place thereby creating a potential demand and motivating them to visit Sikkim .
Another strategy of the expedition will be to organize 'Product Orientation Program' with the travel agents and tour operators in all major tourist generating markets of India.During the campaign, the team will also strive to establish proper distribution channels and convenient points of sales in every state and UTs in order to make holidays to Sikkim easily available, said Mr Kharka.
Claiming that this type of promotion was a first in the country, the society said that the expedition was motivated to address the fluctuating tourist season in Sikkim . Despite abundance of tourism resources and a favorable tourism environment, Sikkim accounts a mere 0.4 percent of the total volume of inbound tourists that visit India every year, said the society.
Domestic tourism is also split between two peak season of two and half months each while the volume of tourism in the state is almost nil, the society said. The objective here is to increase the peak tourism season in the state from the existing five months (of two split seasons) to a continuous stretch of 10 months (September to June) and alternatively target to increase the volume of inbound tourists from existing 0.4 per cent to at least by 1 per cent by 2009, said the society.
The campaign is being supported by various government departments, TAAS, SATO and numerous private enterprises.